MIA Hookah Bar coming soon to old Bristol/Bar L'Estrange Spot
January 9, 2013 1:05 am at 1:05 am #529295
I own property one block away and it’s the only property I own, so I care more than most about this (used to live there, now rent it out). For me, safety and activity are more important than appearances. Having boarded up properties is more detrimental than ones that attract a “non-desirable” clientele imho. And really, the clientele is perfectly fine. Yes, there are a lot of teens because its a place for minors to go, but the bulk of who supports them are Somalis.
>This previous article on CU has a map that shows the neighborhood being a decent concentration of the city’s large Somali population:
*I lived in Minneapolis before moving here, which is the only city to have a higher population. Wonderful people, by and large.*
For those of you who don’t know, most Somalis follow Islam – which forbids the consumption of alcohol. So many Somalis hang out at hookah lounges to drink coffee & smoke much like many other people hang out at bars and drink beer. So in a busy nightlife district with MANY bars, having a few hookah lounges should really make more sense to everyone than it seems to…..January 9, 2013 1:41 am at 1:41 am #529296
Charles Erickson said:
For me, safety and activity are more important than appearances. Having boarded up properties is more detrimental than ones that attract a “non-desirable” clientele imho…So in a busy nightlife district with MANY bars, having a few hookah lounges should really make more sense to everyone than it seems to…..
That is a great point, never thought about it like that.
While I would not frequent a hooka bar I think it’s gotta be better than an empty spot.January 9, 2013 2:08 am at 2:08 am #529297
Given the violence and other major issues that have happened inside and nearby hookah joints in the past couple of years around the short north, and given that these places have been noted to be safe havens and gathering places for some really nasty gang activity in the past couple of years, and given the proximity of a number of folks I really care about owning property very near this establishment, I stand by my statement. Like it or don’t. I’d rather see it sit empty or fail than something be there that attracts what similar joints have in the past couple of years. YMMV.January 9, 2013 2:17 am at 2:17 am #529298
While it’s intriguing and I understand the Islam part there is a negligible Somali population in Weinland Park at best. The 2010 survey of the neighborhood noted that 7% of residents were foreign-born and 50% of that segment was born in Mexico. Is the Short North a Somali hookah destination now? I’m still trying to figure out the business model here and the under-served demographic.
And as far as I know it hasn’t been a crime magnet since it’s been vacant.January 9, 2013 2:18 am at 2:18 am #529299
Furthermore, if it is a solid business model that people want in the neighborhood it will succeed regardless of anything I say on a message board. And if it doesn’t, it’ll hardly be because I said blah about it or because I didn’t personally go in there and support it. If that many people want to sit around and suck on what tastes like Strawberry Shortcake’s farts, then I’ll help erect the sign for the Hookah District myself.
Happy? :)January 9, 2013 3:30 am at 3:30 am #529300
Don’t get me wrong, I personally would rather have ANY number of other things at that spot. From where I used to live on 4th, there was another hookah lounge exactly one block in the opposite direction. I don’t think the neighborhood needs another, much like the neighborhood doesn’t need more bars. I just think it needs SOMETHING, but that is just my personal opinion.
More importantly, if people want to improve the neighborhood, help find someone great to take over the former S&K space. That business attracted lots of problems, though the staff was pretty good about trying to minimize those problems on their own… I was outside of it once when the clerk shot somebody who was trying to rob them.
Oh, and the taco truck that is perma-parked on the opposite corner (or at least used to be) is pretty good.January 9, 2013 3:31 am at 3:31 am #529301
So what you’re saying is that people are allowed to like things, but not allowed to dislike things? ;)
It’s fine to like things and not like things.
It’s also fine to do things. It’s kind of like all those sayings about “those that can’t teach” or something.January 9, 2013 3:40 am at 3:40 am #529302
As I suspected, there seems to be a lot of cotton twisting and bunching after my comment.
The point is, if it is a legal business, being operated by law abiding citizens, bitching about it and hoping they go out of business is if not just sour grapes, a serious invitation to bad Karma.
I would much rather have a legal business in building than have it sitting empty.
I would much rather have an empty building that a EBT swapping, stolen goods selling, bath salt providing carry out.
I would much rather have a multi-million dollar casino in my Arena District than an arena sitting empty for 48 games (or whatever it is) while surrounding businesses complain there is no business for them coming in.
I would rather encourage someone starting a new business, or expanding a business in a bigger location that may be personally distasteful to me, than hope they shut down horribly.
Neighborhood associations are great, and special interest districts are swell, and all the NIMBY folks have their rights, but if they aren’t careful, they will be feeling all superior and high and mighty, and surrounded by a lot of empty space.
OK. Go ahead and get back to the mock apology and facetious support.
You offered your opinion, I have offered mine. Yay.
Living earth and mystical science and conscious universe bless you.January 9, 2013 5:49 am at 5:49 am #529303
For a period I worked in a building close to Cleopatra/MIA when it was at 8th and High. The clientele was typical 16-21 yr old american kids. There was not an appreciable Somali user base that I saw. It was definitely a teen hangout. You could tell it was open by the hip-hop. Their hours were 4pm to 3am and featured ‘starbuzz tobacco’…January 9, 2013 6:44 am at 6:44 am #529304
The one positive I see is that places like this are usually open to 3 and 4am seven days a week. As long as they do not attract the wrong crowd that may be a positive as it puts some feet on the street in an area that needs some eyes.
That said, if it does attract the wrong crowd then all bets are off. I am not liking the above mentioned ‘starbuzz’ tobacco. In an area where bath salts were readily available the vultures may have a field day.
As a nearby resident I am adopting a skeptical wait and see attitude.January 9, 2013 6:52 am at 6:52 am #529305
For the “feet on the street”/”safety and activity” arguments, I’m really not sure how well this works for that building or that corner. The patio for the space is enclosed from the street and behind the building so no one sitting out there sees or hears anything going on, and the front area is too narrow for a real crowd unless they spill over into the sidewalk or street corner, which to me translates to groups loitering about. From my experience these groups don’t normally attract the up and up citizens but more the pan handlers/grifter set.
I’m with @mrmann I’ll wait and see, but I’m highly skeptical.January 9, 2013 11:26 am at 11:26 am #529306
I think this is an unfortunate turn. Granted, an occupied building is better, I haven’t had any positive experiences with hookah bars. The last time I walked from L’etranger down to High St. late at night I ran into a street dealer just north of the hookah bar at Mt. Pleasant and 4th, but perhaps that was a coincidence.
The owners of this building got it for next to nothing. Yeah, it’s been up for rent for awhile, but they leased the three townhouses north of it rather quickly, so I doubt they’re losing on their investment, even with it vacant. Obviously, it’s not an easy space to lease despite it being a very nice building. This intersection is still a tough one.
There are a limit number of types of commericial enterprises that tend to operate in low-income neighborhoods like WP. Carryouts, hair shops, cell phone stores, storefront chuches, are typical. Also, it takes balls to operate in places like this. The Muslim community goes where most mainstream American entrepeneurs fear to go. Perhaps that’s because many of them come from cities and countries that are even more risky. As a business model, I bet hookah is very profitable. So why sell coffee if the margin for “strawberry farts” is much greater. We gotta roll with it, but I’d rather see a bike co-op.January 9, 2013 1:43 pm at 1:43 pm #529307
looks like they have a facebook account:
The only problems I have had since moving into the neighborhood have been walking past the G&L carryout near the Brother’s Drake Meadery. That is due to drug dealing in the building across the street. In that case the landlord is not supervising his property. My advice for MIA Hookah would be that if anyone has problems with this tenant, they make it known to the proper authorities as well as the landlord. The last thing we need is another absentee landlord who doesn’t know what is going on.January 9, 2013 2:49 pm at 2:49 pm #529308
Disappointed but more than that, how do they not not see the saturation of hookah in the area. Hell, a frozen yogurt shop would have a better chance of staying in business.January 9, 2013 2:56 pm at 2:56 pm #529309
Disappointed but more than that, how do they not not see the saturation of hookah in the area. Hell, a frozen yogurt shop would have a better chance of staying in business.
Their place on High St was a really low budget operation. I wonder how much rent the new owner of Bristol is charging?
Despite the corner having issues it does have rather high visibility as there is a lot of traffic funneled by there. A lot of the buildings around the park have been renovated and that area is picking up. The park itself is a great amenity. Hopefully this will just be a minor speed bump.
The upper floors of the Bristol are gutted and unfinished. Hopefully the landlord has long term plans for the building, can’t imagine living or working above a hip-hop blaring cloud of smoke.
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